A look at one of Eastern Europe’s most talked about emerging property markets.
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Bulgaria has attracted a lot of attention over the last two years, as foreign buyers and investors flock to its emerging property market. In 2004, foreigners invested over Euro 500 million in Bulgarian property, compared to Euro 98 million in 2003. Frequently listed in the top 20 places to buy a foreign property, Bulgaria is now firmly on the property investment map.
With EU entry forecast for 2007 investors are keen to buy into the Bulgarian market to reap the inevitable rewards of capital appreciation and establish a rental income in a country that has demonstrated increasing tourism over the last few years. In the first 6 months of 2005 alone, over 2.7 million tourists visited Bulgaria; with a 42% increase in the number of British tourists. By 2020 the World Trade Organisation has predicted that the number of foreign tourists visiting the country will increase to 10 million.
The most popular regions for foreign property investors can be broadly categorised into 3 sectors: the Black Sea Coast, Sofia and the mountain ski-resorts. Other buyers are attracted by the old houses inland that can start from as little as ?1,700 and the medieval charm of picturesque cities and villages like Veliko Turnovo, Arbanassi and Tryavna in central Bulgaria.
Enjoying over 300 days of sunshine a year, boasting a coastline that stretches over 380km, spectacular mountains, eco-tourism and some of the most affordable property in Europe, there is no wonder that Bulgaria is attracting such interest. Property prices in some regions have doubled in the space of the last two years alone ? though new apartments on the coast are still available from as little as ?20,000.
Despite recent bad press about developers and estate agents in Bulgaria over-estimating rental returns and exaggerating capital growth rates, Bulgarian property remains under-valued and is a good investment.